Monday, July 18, 2011

Well, I just got invited into another BzzCampaign. This time for a 'KOR Hydration Vessel'. What this is is essentially a really cool water bottle. I've never heard of the company before, but the product looks cool and is worth a try!

I'll keep you posted...

Monday, May 23, 2011

I just joined this BzzAgent Bzzcampaign and the pen is amazing! Go buy yourself a cross pen! You'll enjoy it! Its that time of year for Graduation parties and Fathers day... think of the gifts! Oh, and also If you use the coupon code "SHOPCROSS" you get 20% off and free shipping!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I haven't blogged in a while, but I found out about this site through BzzAgent... Its one of their new BzzCampaigns. It seems like a great idea for an all in one social media/networking site. I'm just getting started with it now and playing around with it! So far so good!

Look at mine!

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Interesting Friendship

Sudan and China have a fairly enduring relationship. During a good part of Sudan's North-South civil war China only had small ties to the country, sharing Sudan with Europe and the US. After Bashirs came to power in a Coop on June 30, 1989, business continued as usual, as did the Civil War. It was not until the late 90s and early 2000s that American and European companies (for the most part) were barred doing business in the country, thanks to human rights lobbying. (Talisman Oil, a Canadian Company completely left Sudan in early 2004 following several pipeline bombings it was one of, if not the last remaining Western oil interest in Sudan.)

As the West was pulling out, China was dedicating more and more to Sudan, and Africa in general. Currently, China does have large
investments in Sudan, both commercially and politically. Regarding Oil, China is leading developer of reserves in Sudan, and currently takes between 40 to 80 percent of its production, or about six percent of Chinas total usage.

Last month, Sudan's President Bashir was recommended to be arrested by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court. Days before the actual announcement, Chinas UN ambassador had expressed
concern regarding rumors of Sudan President Omar al-Bashirs indictmentsaying it could throw all possibilities at peace in Darfur out the window. Sudan's UN ambassador responded similarly, saying the arrest would lead to grave consequences. ICC judges are not expected to make a ruling for or against Bashirs arrest until October or November, so it is not an imminent threat. (Note: there are currently no Darfur peace processes on the table.)

Some do say, however, that Bashirs indictment could
open old wounds. If anything is threatening to flare up, its the continual on-again off-again civil war between Sudan's Northern, predominantly Muslim population, and its Southern nominally Christian/animistic South. A rocky peace was declared in 2005, but anything could push things over the edge.

Once the indictment was officially announced, the Sudanese UN ambassador is said to have sought help with the Security Council via
China and Russia. As early as July 13, both UNSC membershad informally pledged support to Sudan's government.As of July 31, China has urged the UN to suspend the indictment of Bashir.

The African Union, Arab League, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of Islamic Conference have all called for invoking
Article 16, a measure that allows the UNSC to suspend the ICC proceedingsfor 12 months, renewable indefinitely. The US, on the other hand, is firmly against freezing the indictment.

Although, even with an arrest warrant, it is unlikely that Bashir would be easy to get, seeing
that two other arrest warrants were issued last year, both of which Khartoum has refused to turn over. Yet, Western diplomats say Mr. Bashir could escape indictment if he ended what they see as impunity for two men the ICC charged last year over Darfur. This presents a way out for Bashir, but should he do so, the move would probably be viewed as bargaining sovereignty for safety.

So, why do Russia and China support someone like Bashir and Sudan? The main reason is
Sovereignty. In these types of events, particularly in cases involving Sudan, China acts the way it does almost in a treat other how you would like to be treated sort of way. It has done this in two ways over the years. First, imagine what China would do if a high ranking Party member were indicted by the ICC. They would more than likely never get to that point, thanks to a UNSC veto, but if they couldnt veto they would avoid extradition. In this case they solidify the power they hold over their people, ensuring that there can be no one above the state. This takes out any possibility at international oversight, so the state is the last word.

A second example of this type of action regards how China, in the past, has addressed Sudan's problems in Darfur and the civil war in the South as Issues that Sudan must deal with alone. Think of Southern Sudan and Darfur as provinces in China like Xinjiang, Tibet, or Taiwan. China does have problems on and off with these regions, and is constantly preparing for the possibility of secession. If this were to happen to China, it would want support from its allies in unifying itself, but would not want others to get involved in anyway, for fear of helping the rebellious break up China. Sudan is a sovereign nation with territorial problems that China believed should be solved internally.

For a time, this meant even militarily helping Sudan. The BBC reported that
Dong Feng Military Trucks, Chinese anti-aircraft guns, and Fantan fighter jets have been sold or given to Sudan by China, in possible violation of a UN arms embargo to the region. The BBC believes that some equipment arrived before, and some after the embargo, and that the Chinese are training Sudanese to pilot the jets (yet another breach of the sanctions). China maintains that it does not sell weapons to countries on the embargo list.However, a new report was just released naming China as the top violator of the Sudan embargo. One problem with this report was that it just names China, not differentiating from official government policy, the military acting of its own accord without the Center noticing, or of possible smuggling in general of Chinese Arms. It is possible that the Chinese government (like many other weapon making countries) sold the Sudanese government arms legally before the embargo, and other sales after the embargo were made (with or without official permission) by people with access to the equipment.

Even with all of the negative things that have come out of Chinas weapons sales and initial inaction, China has helped make some positive action in the last two years.
Last year, China began pestering Bashir into accepting UN troops and other decrees to prevent further problems in Darfur. The UN peacekeeping troops are foundering, but not because of China. It is because other countries failing to send the number of troops they pledged. (The current number of peacekeepers is around 9,100, with a pledged total of 26,000.) China has sent most, if not all, of the troops it committed. Seeing how understaffed the peacekeepers are, that is more than many other countries can say.

Chinas state papers tend to do a lot of personal stories, especially if it fits in with the propaganda of the day. Shortly after the ICC indicted Bashir, China Daily released a nice puff piece, connecting the tragic earthquake to honorable peacekeeping in Darfur. It did this through Sichuan native and current S. Darfur Peacekeeper, Ma Sijian.
The article was very positive, saying the Chinese peacekeepers have done much good, building roads, bridges and wells.

While that is true, there are always negatives. In particular a Chinese engineering project, building a hydropower dam, that has so far
flooded at least 7 villages, and could flood as many as 25. The Sudanesegovernment is still in talks with villagers to relocate.

As with everything, the relationship between Sudan and China is complicated. For both countries, the positives are great: Beijinggets more oil and another African supporter of One China; Khartoumgets money, at least some of which goes into modernizing the city and to a much lesser extent the country. Unfortunately weapons sales also play a part in the relationship, whether official or unofficial. This has helped bring conflict to Sudan (to be honest, even without Chinese arms Sudan still would have gotten guns and Darfur would still be a problem) and made China lose some international face. Sure, Chinadragged its feet in the beginning of the UN peacekeeping process, but that is the general nature of Chinese foreign policy: wait until you have to act, then act. In this case Chinabalanced when it had to act, with how it would like to be treated in such an event, but ended up having to change position, acting when the bad international PR forced them to act. It is still commendable that they convinced Bashir to allow peacekeeping troops, and sent many troops themselves. There have been
successes and failures, but its a start.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nationalisticly Mature?

The Revolutionary zeal returns, with Chairman Mao and other Revolutionary images returning to do battle with the evil CNN.

The New York Times today posted an article on just what my last post was. Take a look for yourself.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

China's Uncontrolable Nationalism

Every country has nationalists, some more than others. Some of those are extremists, some are more passive, but they are rarely centralized, controlled, or pushed by one entity. Nationalists in the US during the Civil War were led by charismatic ideologues, people who could 'talk real pretty' and incite emotions in the crowd based on what the speaker knew would spurn emotion. Modern extreme nationalists in the U.S. function more or less the same, but I'd say to a smaller degree. They have a target base group of people, and cater to that, generally not moving much from that base.

(What I am talking about are those movements in which the state in question is the supreme, and only worthwhile actor. All others are inferior. I am not referring to Nationalists like Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists, or movements that are moving for national independence. Both groups in the Chinese Civil war used Ethnic nationalism to push their causes. )

Previous large scale extreme Nationalist movements, specifically in World War II seemed to have more of an ethnic, rather than a national focus. They coincided with National borders for the most part, but remained ethnic.

This brings me to modern day China. I realize I'm skipping over and simplifying many many things, but my point is that nationalism today in China is ... different. It is controlled, but also not by the central government.

Look at what has been going on in Tibet. The Chinese media blames it on the Tibetans and the exiles. The rest of the world sees it a bit different.

From this, Chinese, and in particular youth, see the rest of the world's media, and people as 'Anti-China'. This, I am sure, was started by a subtle but planned push in the governments' central propaganda ministry, hoping to keep the foreign media information at bay from becoming believable to the Chinese people.

The scary thing, is that a little push has turned into something that needs to be quieted. Sites have popped up showing the 'falseness' of CNN.

Why is this unnerving? Simply because it acts like an avalanche, and if it is accidentally pushed too far chaos would erupt.

Friends of mine in China have started to add " <3 China" in front of their MSN name, to prove their solidarity with China. Even friends who know the media is manipulated, and hates talking about government have added the heart. The propaganda becomes so strong people join it without second thoughts. The Internet has been the main engine pushing the spread of this new resurgence of nationalism.

This is just to protest the protests along the Olympic Flame route against the Chinese government's actions in Tibet. Imagine what would happen if the nationalism went further in response to something bigger.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

If It was November 4, 2008 today... Red or Blue

Well, I was curious to see how this would all line up... So I decided that I'd tally up all the Pre-Super Tuesday Primaries and see who was coming out ahead, and what that might say for November. This is, of course, sloppy guesswork... but let's see.

Nevada Caucus:
Democratic Turnout: ~116,00 (Up from 2004's 9000)
Republican Turnout: ~44,000 (Up from previous highs of ~2-3000)

Result: The Democrats would probably win this state... Although, in 2004 the Dems also had higher #'s of people Caucusing... The state still went Red come November... This year's high numbers may make for a Blue state end result. 5 votes for Blue!

Democratic Turnout: 1,684,390
Republican Turnout: 1,920,350

Result: Well... This was a primary that "didn't count" so says the Democratic Party... so its interesting that they are only tailing by a few hundred thousand votes... rather than a solid million. I'm sure there is a good number of people who didn't vote as a result of the general 'it doesn't matter, its not counted' apathy. So, on that point the state is still up for grabs... but we'll call it for Red again. Up 27 for Red.

South Carolina:
Democratic Turnout: 530,322
Republican Turnout: 442,918

Result: This one looks good for the Democrats... Blue State +8

Democratic Turnout: 220,588
Republican Turnout: ~114,000

Result: Same as Nevada. Both States had Democratic majorities for their primaries, but not by this much... Could forecast a change to Blue. Blue 7.

Democratic Turnout: 593,837
Republican Turnout: 842,565

Result: Well, this is another state that just "didn't count" for the Democratic Party. Since in both 2000 and 2004, this state went Blue... I don't foresee a change. But the Democratic leadership (as usual) are being idiotic concerning FL and MI; that's more than 40 electoral votes combined. Alienation is not a good strategy. They have months to pander to them, but first impressions count. On the border, but lets say Red. 17 on Red.

New Hampshire:
Democratic Turnout: 284,104
Republican Turnout: 233,381

Result: Surprise, surprise! Blue State. This state's republican primary does show how split the votes were...2 virtually tied for first at around 80,000 votes each, and then 3 competing for second, each around 20,000 votes. 4 electoral votes for Blue.

-------- Democratic Turnout:-------- Republican Turnout: --------
Maine: ---Feb. 10th ------------------------Romney--------
Wyoming: Coming March 8th --------...? =Romney?--------

Result: I can't find real numbers... just precinct data... so its anyone's guess. It is annoying that the numbers aren't published. I know roll is taken, so that data should be (and probably is...) uploaded to the state.

=================Vote Tally===================
---------------------Democratic: ---------Republican: -------
Nevada Caucus: ~116,000 -----------------~44,000
Florida: -------- 1,684,390-----------------1,920,350
South Carolina: 530,322 ------------------442,918
Iowa: ---------220,588-------------------114,000
New Hampshire: 284,104-----------------233,381
Total:-------- 3,429,241 ----------------3,597,214

Result: Republican Win. The Dem's need to Focus on MICHIGAN and FLORIDA!!! Voter Apathy could be the only reason for the Republican primary wins, but scorn may still last. Try to address this.

==============Electoral College==================
---------------- Democratic: --------Republican: --------
Nevada Caucus: --------5 ----------------0
Florida: ----------------0 ----------------27
South Carolina: --------8 ----------------0
Iowa: ------------------7 ----------------0
Michigan: -------------0 ----------------17
New Hampshire:------ 4 ----------------0
Total: ----------------24 ----------------44

As can be seen, Florida and Michigan count. A lot. Even by winning every other state, the Democrats still lose without one of them. This is only primary data, but it shows that some things need to be watched. It also shows that its not a good idea to give the finger to Florida and Michigan, and wander off. (Not that this will happen during real election time, but still, don't make enemies.)